This book has an odd timeliness in that here- in the span of a novel- one sees the forces at work, the seeds sown, which have produced many of the disturbing elements in the Far Eastern situation today. This is a story of the Open Door policy, inaugurated by Commodore Perry, and brings Japan during a stormy period of twenty years, to a distorted conception of what constitutes Western Civilization and business methods. The events are those connected with the career of Jonathan Boone, midshipman under Perry, who comes back when the mud flats of Yokahama are opened to foreigners, to establish a trading post and a home, with his bride (who had come because she wanted to go to the Orient). Their marriage was a tragic farce -- and crashed. He remarried, a Japanese, only to find that that too was a failure, when his first love crossed his path again, softened by her experiences. The mounting tension of the Japanese problem is better handled than the love story, which is never real.